Whenever I learn of someone or something being associated with my dads home country, Antigua & Barbuda, I am instantly intrigued. A few months ago my sister told me about Barnola, a great granola company. Barnola is a love note to Aisha Thompson’s childhood. The Antiguan born owner of Barnola developed the flavors with inspiration from her childhood in the islands. I purchased the several flavors, however, I had to do a blog post after my first sample of the first package that I opened, Island Spice. When I tell you this granola is like no other granola I have had. You know how a lot of the artisan made granolas, are chewy and a little harder to chew? This one was so crispy, it really added a proper crunch to the yogurt that I added the granola to. Island Spice is described on the Barnola website as “Inspired by the Caribbean, this flavor explodes with warm spices like ginger and nutmeg. Add warmth to any time of the day, pair with milk for breakfast, yogurt or just grab and go for an any time of the day snack.” a perfect description. If you like a good crunchy snack, or want to try something different from breakfast, Barnola is a great option. Other available flavors are Nutty Orange, Chocolate Indulgence, Rosemary Almond, and the seasonal flavor Pumpkin Crunch. My next purchase will be to try the bars, that come in Pumpkin N’ Seed flavor. Aisha Thompson, you have a winner with this granola… 2 words THE CRUNCH, thats all. If you want to order Barnola visit the site, they come in resealable bag to help you keep the freshness. I think I will try the Chocolate Indulgence next, on top of some ice cream… yaaaassssssss.
If you are like me, I prefer a sweeter yogurt, while I am trying to have self control and not overindulge. I add agave nectar to my greek yogurt to give it a little bit of sweetness, and everything is better with cinnamon, well not everything, but most things.
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup blueberries or any fresh berry
2 tbsp Barnola
Dorothy Cann Hamilton Founder and CEO of The International Culinary Center, what a loss. This morning I woke up like I usually do. I flipped through all of the eventful things that my social media connections did through out the night. My heart sunk when I came across a 5 day old status of one of the many chefs that I admire on Instagram. The post had the great picture of Hamilton in that “sugar sharp, smart” kelly green jacket paying respect to her memory. That photo was the first photo that introduced me to Ms. Hamilton last year, when I began my journey of discovering my passion.
March of 2015 I began the process of competing to be a student at The International Culinary Center, on The Rachael Ray Show. One of the tasks that I had to complete was write my admissions essay on why I wanted to attend culinary school, why ICC specifically, and finally what I wanted to do as a graduate of The International Culinary Institute. That essay made me really sit in this and contemplate, but also research. Part of my research to understand what ICC could offer me, brought me to the website. The ICC website was where my dreams turned into reality. I researched ICC years prior as The French Culinary Institute, but I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have the love for cooking then like I do now. I think I even attended an open house years ago. Anyway, as I was researching why I should be admitted to ICC now, I came across Chef’s Story, a podcast on the website.
Chef’s Story was a one on one interview of a successful chef interviewed by a very knowledgable, food power hustler named Dorothy Cann Hamilton. I’m not sure how I figured out that the voice was the Founder and CEO of this amazing school that I could see myself stepping into my purpose in. By listening to these interviews that Dorothy led, it allowed each chef to step listeners thru how they discovered their passion for food. The weekend that I prepared my essay I must have listened to 30 interviews as I sat on my couch trying to find the perfect words to describe how much I was sure of my desire to cook, and to learn at ICC. Listening to the interviews that Dorothy held with many chefs that I admire, and some that I hadn’t heard of but began following, allowed me, the listener to get to know that she was friendly, warm, funny, very well travelled, highly creative and didn’t let much stop her from building one of the best culinary schools in the US. I also learned that she didn’t mind a little foul language from the chefs that stopped by to tell their stories, so she was no prude.
When I was selected as a finalist, I knew that my time listening to Chef’s Story after Chef’s Story that weekend helped me to understand the possibilities and to brighten my passion to cook and attend ICC. When I didn’t win the competition, I was not really sad, because the entire process allowed me to understand my purpose. I was and am so sure that I will attend ICC that after not winning the competition on the show I connected with Dorothy Cann Hamilton on LinkedIn, just because I knew she would know me eventually.
The culinary world has certainly gained an angel, and even though I never met her or even stood in the same room as her, as an admirer of her entrepreneurial endeavor of The International Culinary Center, and her love of life and learning, I will miss hearing her voice on new episodes of Chef’s Story on Heritage Radio. And the loss of this culinary icon speaks to the need for everyone and anyone to live for today, and when you identify your purpose in this life, do everything and anything you can to live in that purpose, because Dorothy did.
In my previous post about my trip to the Rachael Ray show I shared my experience and excitement of the first of 2 days as a guest on The Rachael Ray show. I left off concluding the first part of the competition. The next and final part of the competition continued early the next day. We started out in hair and makeup with some fantastic ladies that are great at what they do. Of course there was a lot of waiting, and we actually walked into the building right behind our new best friend Chef Jacques Pépin, he noticed us first and called us over to greet us. When it was finally time to proceed, during a break, we walked out in front of the live studio audience, can you say “nervous”, because thats what I was, I mean sweating nervous. We were quickly introduced to Rachael and at this point we already knew what the challenge was so we quickly walked thru the kitchens we were to be working in. The final challenge was to repeat yesterday’s challenge and include the suggestions Chef Pépin had for us the day prior, in front of this studio audience…OMG!!. I chose to pair down my food, and focus on the white meat only, and add a sauce to my mushrooms that I didn’t over cook this time around, using white wine and butter (nod to Julia Childs). I had just enough time to taste the sauce and realize it was too salty, and correct it at the last 30 seconds before I plated. Overall I was proud of my dish, Rachael Ray even complimented me on my plating. The play by play can be seen on my youtube channel (youtube.com/foodieengineer).
In the end I didn’t take home the big win, but I won so much along the way. The experience of a life time to meet the world famous, Chef Jacques Pépin, the exposure of a great show that is watched by many, and most of all the opportunity to realize my passion and purpose on this journey. Plus, I fell in love with the idea of culinary school. When I tell you I sleep better knowing, I know the goal, and all I have to do is execute the plan to get there. This experience has only ignited the fire that began as a spark with me in the kitchen just having a great time. I guess I should tell you what I didn’t win. The winner of the competition received a 5 day culinary vacation to Cancun for 2, and full tuition to The International Culinary Center’s Culinary Arts Program. However, for being top 3, we all received a ton of Rachael Ray Cookware. Now, I am working on menus to begin sharing my food with more people so that I can build my skills and get ready for culinary school. My plan after completing culinary school is to begin my own high end catering business, though it will take some time, I am willing to put in the effort to reach my goal, and truly live in my purpose. In an upcoming post I will share all of the goodies that Rachael Ray gave us to take home and cook with.
Save Print Summer Dessert Blueberry Pie Delicious blueberry pie that is certain to be a crowd pleaser at a summer gathering, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you can not go wrong. Author: Alycia Matthews Cuisine: American Recipe type: Dessert Serves: 8 Prep time: 1 hour 15 […]